Dragon hunting: Southern Darter

The Southern Darter is another species that has increased a lot over the past years in the Netherlands. As the name already says, it’s a southern species, more common in the southern parts of Europe, but with the increasing temperatures, it has expanded norhtwards. In recent years it has even started reproducing in the Netherlands. The family of the darters often pose identification chalenges, but the Southern Darter is not the most difficult I found. Very yellow legs and a very ‘clean’ thorax makes it quite easy to pick them out from the more common species.

Southern Darter

Where some rare species have very special needs, some are more limited by the climate. The Southern Darter is not very critical in the habitat it needs. Shallow ponds, that often dry up during summer with enough vegetation along the shores are already enough, which isn’t the rarest of habitats in the Netherlands. In my case, we found them in an artificial creak with lots of Bulrush and with a herd of semi-wild cows regularly trampling the vegetation. This habitat is also favoured by Southern Hawkers and we saw several of them too, but they were a bit camera shy.

Southern Darter habitat

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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